yeah the D5100 is a better deal if you aren't too picky. If it got the same sensor as the D7000 (which it seem) then it is better then the Canon in low light and higher ISO.
Well the D7000 vs D5100 6fps vs 4fps: advantage d7000 Fixed screen vs tilt: D5100 Maganisum body vs. plastic: D7000 More manual controls vs menus: D7000 1080p 24fps vs 1080p 30fps: D5100 Sensors: tie (if it is the Sony cmos like the D7000, D3100 used Nikon Cmos) Lenses selection: D7000, the D5100 still lack th ebody motor for older Nikkor lenses. Nikon CLS wireless flash: tie, both have it I not sure if the 3100 does (for speedlight without buying a trigger and using i-ttl off camera). 39 vs 11: D7000, but I only use the single point focusing (like manual on the camera) so no really advantage unless you do thing fully automatic. Or focus and recenter, same thing.
All in all the D5100 is a better deal for consumer. For enthusiast the body and control of the D7000 is much better and faster to change settings to get a good shot.
The d7000 defaults were soft and designed for portrait. You have to use the submenu to jack up the sharpness and contrast to look vivid on the D7000 to look like the unnatural Canon defaults.
D7000 VS D5100: D7000 IS WAY TOO COMPLEX AND LARGE. D5100 WILL BE THE BESTSELLER. dpreview.com has in its review comments like " the D7000 is a complicated camera ... and some aspects of its operation, especially the plethora of information in the 'info' screen, might be overwhelming at first." That might as well be a large warning, as when dpreview says complicated and overwhelming, that means this to you: if you are not gonna read the 1,000 page books on how to use the d7000, you won't get much out of it, you might as well put it on Auto.
I found the D5100 much easier to use. See the D7000 menus have hundreds of options. HUNDREDS. The D5100 menus have only dozens. In an hour or two, you can master 80% of the D5100. To accomplish that in the D7000 you need a month or two of study...are you really gonna do that?
The thing is that reviews are often written by true photographers who have spent 30 years in the craft. Those people cannot evaluate a camera from the user's perspective.
The D5100 is the first time Nikon put a high resolution display with 921K in the LCD in a little 1 pound camera. And the first time the stellar ISO performance of the 5100/7000 is available in a small camera.
The only weakness of the 5100 is that is does not work with screw lenses. The truth is nikon is moving away from the screw lenses and favors VR stabilized lenses. VR gives you 3 or 4 f stop advantage, making a lens work wonders in poor light.
Bottom line the D5100 will be Nikon's bestseller for its great 921K hi res LCD, its great iso performance at 6400, its simple menus and great easy to use effects. The D7000 on the other hand with its hundreds of options in the menus belongs to true photographers, but those people might as well climb a step to the D700 or D3X equivalents and get Nikon's $ 5000 cameras.
I think one does a disservice to recommend a D7000 with hundreds of menu items to a casual buyer. The market will take care of that. The D5100 will be Nikon's bestseller for a long time. Its LCD rivals the human eye's resolution. Any more resolution is not needed. The ISO at 6400 can take pictures in dark restaurants. So the only challenge now is still the dark sports arena. The dimly lit fields with fast action. For that yes the D7000 and the screw driven $ 1000 80-200 f2.8 is the perfect 5 pound solution. Or the D5100 can drive the 70-200VR $2000 lens. Nikon needs an affordable 180mm f2.8 VR or something like Sigma's old 50-150mm f2.8.
I can corroborate some of G. Lechter's statements.
Having used the D7000 for the past couple of weeks, I can attest that is a sophisticated camera with a significant learning curve if you're coming from a D40. I don't own a D31000 or D51000 but I suspect the leap would still be significant.
Perhaps the most difficult thing to learn to use well is the auto focus system. It is completely different from the D40's in almost every way. You need to spend several hours with it to understand how it works and probably several days with it to understand when to use which setting.
I do wish it had a swivel screen, but the weather sealing, ability to focus in tough conditions with its 9 cross type focus points, 6fps shooting speed, and the ability to use screw type lenses (saw an 80-200mm 2.8 VR for $500) convinced me to keep it.
I honestly don't know how it would stack up against the D5100 if I had one. I suspect I would love the D5100's light weight and small size, two things the D7000 decidedly does not benefit from. Size and weight are probably its two biggest--excuse the pun--detractors. With an 18-200mm attached, wives will not like using it. You may not even like using that combo. But 6fps at 200mm is not a terrible thing to have when shooting your toddlers playing with dogs in a park!
I made the choice to go with the D7000 primarily because I know that I should have bought a D90 from the beginning instead of a D40. That was because of max print resolution, focus speed, and low light performance. I don't think the D5100 suffers from any of these issues, but I didn't want to find myself in a year or two thinking that I should have bought a different camera (i.e., the D7000).
Bottom line: If you're the type of person who will spend time with the manual, with books like The D7000 Experience, and shooting sub-par shots for a while as you learn, the D7000 is a worthy camera for the committed enthusiast.
If you're not this type of person, you would probably be better served by a different camera.
Despite the D7000's drawbacks, I think I made the right choice for the long term.
You can compare the two cameras here: http://www.nikonusa.com/Nikon-Products/Digital-SLR-Cameras/index.page
I was in the similar situation. I've got a D40, SB600, SB800, kit 18-55 lens, Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 macro, Nikkor 55-200 VR, ML-L3 remote, and the Nikon hotshoe extender cable with focusing light.
My wife just got me a D7000 for an anniversary gift two weeks ago. So far I'm loving it. It is heavier than the D40 though. Thoughts so far are that the focusing system is really good. I did a lot of point focusing on the D40 since there were only three spots and it was easier to pick vs 39! The D5100 doesn't seem to have an in camera focusing motor or support commander mode for CLS. $400 cheaper retail is a big difference though. After reading a bit the D7000 still seems like a better camera, although the D5100 (like the D40) sounds like a great value.
Would you have previously considered the D80/90 for the focusing motor or command flash? I'm planning to get the 50mm 1.8 for ~100 since it auto focuses with this camera, but not on the D40. U1 and U2 could be useful custom settings as well (landscape/portrait etc).
More or less I agree with R that D7000 is more enthusiast while the D5100 is a heck of a value for a general consumer!
Got my D5100 5 weeks ago and was able to compare it to my D7000. What i can say is that D5100 is a pretty good DEAL for the price and performance. If you are a new to DSLR i would recommend D5100 against D7000. But if you are moving from level entry to advance dslr go for d7000. What i like about d7000 compared to my D5100 is that it can focus quicker then D5100 (AF) Very durable. dropped my d7000 couple of times now, still intact, no crack or damage at all.. its more solid. Image wise, D7000 is a lil bit better.. But its almost identical... Video wise, d5100 video mode is all Automatic compared to d7000 you can control it manually or automatic. screen wise, D5100 live view mode is better than d7000 because you can rotate the screen... For me, my D7000 is still a winner compared to my new D5100. As I've said, if your are new to DSLR or just wanted to take a good quality photo and not really a hardcore photographer go with D5100. It's a good deal for the price and it comes with 18-55mm lens..
I want to correct a misstatement made in an earlier post. The poster claimed that the D5100 doesn't work with older screw-driven Nikon and Nikon compatible lenses.
This claim couldn't be more inaccurate. Such lenses work just fine with the D5100. The camera just won't autofocus with these lenses. Does that make the lenses useless? Only if you need very quick focusing (e.g., sports photography). For photography where you have time to manual focus or pre-focus, the D5100 works just fine with such lenses. The camera has an electronic rangefinder that provides very precise focusing on any lens that you can attach to the camera. Using the RF, focusing in most situations can be confirmed in a second or less.
Thus, if you must rely on the camera's AF, then the D5100 is not a good choice for D-lens use. However, if you're not afraid to MF, then your lens choice with the D5100 is nearly as broad as it is with thhe D7000.
depend on how you shoot, I don't rely on the camera autofocus to get me good results. It sometime focus things in the back, so since then I switched to Single point AF. It is like manually focusing but you don't turn the lens focus ring, but move the point around on the screen in your viewfinder (I don't shot with the lcd either only for video where it is mandatory). So to me moving that single points within 39 shot is more helpful then having 11 spots. You can also just focus on the center by doing a half click or AE lock then recenter your image. But they spaced out the 11 points to the same area of the d7000 39. I definitely don't use any of the fully autofocus mode of the camera. So it depends on how you shoot. I never really understand the big different between 57, 39, or 11 focus points. There is really only one in my mind.
I would guess the more expensive camera would autofocus faster too.
Wanted to let you all know that I decided on the D7000 and picked one up today. Couldn't be happier. Continuous autofocus during video shooting is useless on it, but I'm learning to manually focus, which is actually more rewarding for me; when shooting at f/1.8 you can get a very cinematic look focusing manually, even when you're chasing around your twin toddlers!